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The Gauntlet Of College Essays This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was a Monday night, dark and gloomy outside. The only thing missing was lightning in the background. I had taken the day off on the pretext that I was sick and, what do you know, I did indeed catch a cold! And felt miserable and hurt the whole day. How lucky could I possibly get?

I ended up working the entire day on college essays. I ended up with four rough drafts piled up, waiting to be entered into my computer, to be shaped and reshaped until they would glitter on their pages. Or at least I hoped they would.

College essays are so unbearable. Subject: me. Write about this and that, but I am the main subject, I am the main verb, I am the adjective and adverb; I seem to be the only word they want to know about in those essay questions. It sounds very nice and neat, sometimes. I have tried, and to some limited extent have been capable of, understanding why they would want to know about me. After all, I might end up attending their college. But couldn't any of them show some mercy and just say: "Write an essay about whatever you want to write about, not necessarily you, any length (some do restrict the length, and I have a tendency to be quite verbose and ramify on every single idea, so I do have a bonus problem which can only rarely be fixed by condensing the print), any width, any height, any breadth, anything will do!"

It is getting quite exasperating, coming up with things to say. I feel as if I have just completed half of my autobiography in the process of writing my college essays. Oh, yes, you can use one essay for more than one college, if you're smart enough to figure out how. And you are willing to take the chance that, maybe, just maybe, you might write about the WRONG thing. I have been warned against religion, death, provocative material in general ... What is left? "I walk to school each day and sit there for just over six hours, then ambulate back home"? Oh, yeah, don't forget all those SAT words you have crammed lately. You'll be needing those.

I am already quite exhausted by the subject. I notice tufts of hair disappearing from my head and appearing in my hands from time to time. What is left of my hair is turning white. My hands are starting to shake. I feel as if I'm losing my mind, provided I still have it, trying to figure out the RIGHT thing to say and the RIGHT way of writing it. I can just hope that none of the colleges I'm applying to will ever see this letter. Or know who wrote it. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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